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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 20 The Vision of Holiness

III. Sin As An Adjustment

1. The belief in sin is an adjustment.  And an adjustment is a change, shift in perception, or a belief that what was so before has been made different.  Every adjustment is therefore a distortion and calls upon defenses to uphold it against reality.  Knowledge requires no adjustments and, in fact, is lost if any shift or change is undertaken.  For this reduces it at once to mere perception; a way of looking in which certainty is lost, and doubt has entered.  To this impaired condition are adjustments necessary because it is not true.  Who need adjust to truth, which calls on only what he is, to understand?

2. Adjustments of any kind are of the ego.  For it is the ego’s fixed belief that all relationships depend upon adjustments, to make of them what it would have them be.  Direct relationships, in which there are no interferences, are always seen as dangerous.  The ego is the self-appointed mediator of all relationships, making whatever adjustments it deems necessary and interposing them between those who would meet, to keep them separate and prevent their union.  It is this studied interference that makes it difficult for you to recognize your holy relationship for what it is.

3. The holy do not interfere with truth.  They are not afraid of it, for it is within the truth they recognize their holiness and rejoice at what they see.  They look on it directly without attempting to adjust themselves to it, or it to them.  And so they see that it is in them, not deciding first where they would have it be.  Their looking merely asks a question and it is what they see that answers them.  You make the world and then adjust to it, and it to you.  Nor is there any difference between yourself and it in your perception, which made them both.

4. A simple question yet remains and needs an answer.  Do you like what you have made? – a world of murder and attack, through which you thread your timid way through constant dangers, alone and frightened, hoping at most that death will wait a little longer before it overtakes you and you disappear.  You made this up.  It is a picture of what you think you are; of how you see yourself.  A murderer is frightened, and those who kill fear death.  All these are but the fearful thoughts of those who would adjust themselves to a world made fearful by their adjustments.  And they look out in sorrow from what is sad within and see the sadness there.

5. Have you not wondered what the world is really like; how it would look through happy eyes?  The world you see is but a judgment on yourself.  It is not there at all.  Yet judgment lays a sentence on it, justifies it and makes it real.  Such is the world you see; a judgment on yourself and made by you.  This sickly picture of yourself is carefully preserved by the ego, whose image it is and which it loves, and placed outside you in the world.  And to this world must you adjust as long as you believe this picture is outside and has you at its mercy.  This world is merciless, and were it outside you, you should indeed be fearful.  Yet it was you who made it merciless and now if mercilessness seems to look back at you, it can be corrected.

6. Who in a holy relationship can long remain unholy?  The world the holy see is one with them, just as the world the ego looks upon is like itself.  The world the holy see is beautiful because they see their innocence in it.  They did not tell it what it was; they did not make adjustments to fit their orders.  They gently questioned it and whispered, “What are you?” And He Who watches over all perception answered.  Take not the judgment of the world as answer to the question, “What am I?”  The world believes in sin, but the belief that made it as you see it is not outside you.

7. Seek not to make the Son of God adjust to his insanity.  There is a stranger in him, who wandered carelessly into the home of truth and who will wander off.  He came without a purpose, but he will not remain before the shining light the Holy Spirit offered, and you accepted.  For there the stranger is made homeless and you are welcome.  Ask not this transient stranger, “What am I?”  He is the only thing in all the universe that does not know.  Yet it is he you ask, and it is to his answer that you would adjust.  This one wild thought, fierce in its arrogance, and yet so tiny and so meaningless it slips unnoticed through the universe of truth, becomes your guide.  To it you turn to ask the meaning of the universe.  And of the one blind thing in all the seeing universe of truth, you ask, “How shall I look upon the Son of God?”

8. Does one ask judgment of what is totally bereft of judgment?  And if you have, would you believe the answer, and adjust to it as if it were the truth?  The world you look on is the answer that it gave you, and you have given it power to adjust the world to make its answer true.  You asked this puff of madness for the meaning of your unholy relationship and adjusted it according to it insane answer.  How happy did it make you?  Did you meet your brother with joy to bless the Son of God, and give him thanks for all the happiness that he held out to you?  Did you recognize your brother as the eternal gift of God to you?  Did you see the holiness that shone in both you and your brother, to bless the other?  That is the purpose of your holy relationship.  Ask not the means of its attainment of the one thing that still would have it be unholy.  Give it no power to adjust the means and end.

9. Prisoners bound with heavy chains for years, starved and emaciated, weak and exhausted, and with eyes so long cast down in darkness they remember not the light, do not leap up in joy the instant they are made free.  It takes a while for them to understand what freedom is.  You groped but feebly in the dust and found your brother’s hand, uncertain whether to let it go or to take hold on life so long forgotten.  Strengthen your hold and raise your eyes unto your strong companion, in whom the meaning of your freedom lies.  He seemed to be crucified beside you.  And yet his holiness remained untouched and perfect, and with him beside you, you shall this day enter with him to Paradise, and know the peace of God.

10. Such is my will for you and your brother, and for each of you for one another and for himself.  Here there is only holiness and joining without limit.  For what is Heaven but union, direct and perfect, and with out the veil of fear upon it.  Here are we one, looking with perfect gentleness upon each other and on ourselves.  Here all thoughts of any separation between us become impossible.  You who were a prisoner in separation are now made free in Paradise.  And here would I unite with you, my friend, my brother and my Self.

11. Your gift unto your brother has given me the certainty our union will be soon.  Share, then, this faith with me, and know that it is justified.  There is no fear in perfect love because it knows no sin, and it must look on others as on itself.  Looking with charity within, what can it fear without?  The innocent see safety, and the pure in heart see God within His Son, and look unto the Son to lead them to the Father.  And where else would they go but where they will to be?  You and your brother now will lead the other to the Father as surely as God created His Son holy and kept him so.  In your brother is the light of God’s eternal promise of your immortality.  See him as sinless and there can be no fear in you. [1]

When we enter into this world there is a big adjustment to the impaired conditions we find here.  We encounter complete vulnerability, lack of communication and communion, a multitude of contradictory needs and need fulfillments, and utter dependability on other fallible flesh creatures.  From the spiritual Kingdom of God, which is calm, certain, true, and forever loving, kind, and gentle we come to a realm of opposites, opposition, and brutality.  This is what we must adjust ourselves to in our humanity, the kinds of adjustments we make to our humanity are all of the ego, and we try to make others fit into the need-fulfilling roles in which the ego assigns to them. Equality, lack of specialness, a stepping away from roles and rules and expectations is always seen as dangerous to ego-based relationships. 

In paragraph two, Jesus tells us that the ego is the self-appointed mediator of all relationships. My ego will tell me what my husband needs to do to make me happy.  My ego will tell me how I should mold my kids to make them fit into the image that will give me boasting rights, will reward me for all the sacrifices I have made for them, which will carry on traditions and belief systems that are designed to keep us in the dark.  My ego’s goal is not to communicate and enjoy one another fully in unity and celebration but rather to keep us duty-bound, afraid of displeasing one another, dully engaging in rites and rituals that have no meaning to us in order to please and placate.  In friendships my ego will not really see you, it will see the image of you and the assignments that I have given you to meet my idea of what a friend should be.  It is difficult to recognize the holiness that draws us together and gives us peace and joy with all the ego’s interference of comparison, jealousy, spite, condemnation, pride, unforgiveness, and hypocrisy that defines our special relationships. 

In our holy relationship, we do not interfere with truth.  We see our mutuality, our oneness, our Sonship.  We will not accept the ego’s version of things as the truth, for we will know that every report of the ego is contradictory and maddening.  If we relied on the ego to determine our relationships, we would go from loving to hating, from getting along beautifully to clamoring and throwing things at each other, from rowing our boat in happy unison to circling like sharks about each other’s bleeding carcasses.  When we see each other in truth, we have no adjustments to make to one another.  I do not have to change a thing about me to suit you nor do you have to change a thing about you to suit me.  We do not put demands on each other.  We let Creation be as it was created. 

When we see the world through happy eyes, we realize that the fearful world is not really there at all.  It only exists in judgment for when we judge it, our belief in it would make it real to us.  As long as we believe in the outside world, we will have to make adjustments to it.  We will have to protect ourselves with rules and regulations, demand our rights, feel obliged to point out sins and sense a dreadful shame and helplessness of things not right, true, or certain.

The merciless world we made is corrected by identifying with holiness.  When we identify with one another in holiness we make a beautiful world, we restore innocence, we bring back undisturbed peace and everlasting joy.  Because we no longer believe in the world of opposites and opposition, we do not tell the world what it is – we do not label things good or bad, evil or blessed, saint or sinner.  As our true and everlasting Being, we leave any sense of guilt, shame, sin, and separation in the past and refuse to project it to our future.  We look at the world with eyes that see the pure, the good, the true, and lovely.  

When Jesus tells not to adjust to the insanity of this world, He tells us to accept our holiness, our perfection, our beautiful and glorious everlasting Spirit that God has created us to be and never took away.  This mad idea of conflict and contradiction is the stranger.  Do not seek to find yourself through the ego or the flesh which is the ego’s symbol.  The ego does not know what it is – it is a meaningless bit of arrogance, a ridiculous piece of fiction, born to live as if it is the center of all that is, only to wither, die, and fade away into obscurity.

In paragraph eight, Jesus tells us that the unholy relationships we make in the world are based upon this puff of madness.  We adjust to one another’s egos, one another’s flesh bodies, one another’s demands for sacrifices.  We spend our whole lives catering to the egos of each other. Our relationships fail us because we are not meeting each other in the joy of Sonship, we are meeting each other in the pain of flesh, the contradictions of humanity, the unhappiness of striving to meet ongoing demands that wear us down and sicken us.  When I see you as the eternal gift of God I see past your flesh to your beauty, your innocence, your laughter, the light of holiness that shines from you and blesses me.  There is no other purpose for our relationship than this – the joy we share in Brotherhood, the communion we have in Sonship.  We cannot have this as long as we are trying to derive the meaning of our relationship through our flesh bond, we cannot have this as long as you are assigning a role to me and I am assigning a role to you, we cannot enjoy the truth of who we are when we try to own each other and manipulate each other through shame, and guilt, and obligation.

In Sonship Christ calls to us to live for one another in holiness and unlimited joining.  This means that we do not set up barriers in our mind against one another.  We do not make assertions and demands that would limit our mercy and forgiveness, we take everybody and everything to the holy instant with no holds barred.  This is where we unite – I bring you to my mind and I address all that would stand between us, I see you as beautiful and holy and full of happiness and joy in our union even as you see me.  In the holy instant we take the fear that has come between us and let it go with the past.  We are one, you and me, perfectly gentle and kind toward one another and ourselves.  There is no groveling and sniveling.  There is no sorrow and shame, no guilt or recriminations.  Here nothing can separate me from you or you from me.  This is our freedom; this is our Paradise. 

In paragraph 11, Jesus tells us that when we offer this gift to our special relationships, we find salvation.  We may wonder how our relationship woes could ever be resolved by merely thinking about them in the light of holiness, forgiveness, and grace but the holy instant is far more than a passing thought.  When we take our relationships to the holy instant, we are taking them from the low mind of ego and bringing them to the high mind of Christ.  When you take me to your high mind, my mind can do nothing but respond.  This is the promise of Christ.  My high mind and your high mind are one already.  We hold no fear of each other in our high mind because it holds no grudges, no grief, no condemnation.  The mind of Christ knows no sin, only purity and goodness and the Sonship of God. 

Today in your personal practice, meditate upon the last two lines of today’s text.  “In your brother is the light of God’s eternal promise of your immortality.  See him as sinless and there can be no fear in you.”  Practice seeing Creation as sinless – start with those who are closest to you and move outward, excluding nobody that comes to mind but taking care not to weary yourself.  This is a process, and it must not be hurried or stressed in any way.  Setting our brothers free of the hold our egos would keep them in, we share now and forever in the beautiful freedom and liberty of Sonship for which we were created.   


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 20 The vision of holiness. III Sin as an adjustment. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.

Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com

Filed under: ACIM, Teaching and Learning

About the Author

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Coming up on sixty, my love for God, home and hearth, my husband and family fueled my decision to devote the rest of my life only to pursuits which brought love, joy, peace, and purpose. I am a writer, seeker, student, and teacher with experience professional and otherwise from waitressing to teaching the English language in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. I hold a BA in Psychology from Bloomsburg University, which took nearly 30 years to attain while I squeezed courses in between raising my children, journaling, relationships, work, and an assortment of escapades, some of which I would rather forget! An ongoing passion for reading, writing, adventure, food, and fun, eventually led me to the love of my life, James, whom I met in 1996 and married in 1997. Our life together has been an exciting journey of work and travel, spiritual awakening, and domestic bliss ever since. Although we have experienced the tragic loss of family members and friends through death and estrangement, we have managed to turn our special relationship into a holy one by the grace of God and an acute and growing awareness of “there must be a better way!” In 2006, I published my first novel, Luella’s Calling, and am currently working on my second, Grover Good and the Stone Chateau. From 2013 through 2018, I worked as a Prevention Education Specialist for Transitions, a local domestic violence sexual abuse victim’s service agency. My work there, fueled by a lifelong enthusiasm for teaching, led me to obtain an MS in Education from Scranton University. In 2018, I resigned to accompany James on his work travels while focusing on my calling to study and teach A Course in Miracles. To that end, I dedicate the rest of my days to writing, sharing, and teaching the message of salvation found within the Course pages. Thank you for your interest in this blog. As I do not respond to comments on the posts, if you care to contact me, please email me at eckief@yahoo.com.

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